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Kelowna Woman’s Art Featured by Royal Canadian Mint

Laurie Koss with the pansy stamps she created. (Photo Credit: Contributed)

Her art is on stamps across Canada, and now Kelowna artist Laurie Koss has more of her work featured on a brand new coin.

Koss recently created stamps for Canada Post’s 2015 flower stamp series, and now she’s announced a second impressive project. Tuesday marks the official launch of a new $20 collector’s coin from the Royal Canadian Mint, and this fine silver coin features another of Koss’s paintings.

Laurie Koss. (Photo Credit: Contributed)

The organizations that collect art for the stamps and the coins are completely separate, even though they’re both sold at the post office. It turns out that neither of them knew that Koss was working for both; the opportunities were completely separate.

“Their meetings were both around the same week. I found out about the stamps on the Tuesday, and on the Friday I found out about the coin,” says Koss. “That was a good week.”

Both organizations discovered Laurie Koss’s work through her website.

She had to work quickly on the coin design, since when they announced the deadline, it only gave her about two weeks. At that point, she had just finished the pansy paintings for the stamps. “The lucky thing is I had finished the design for the stamps two weeks early,” said Koss. “Really lucky timing, since had I gone right to my deadline with the stamps, I wouldn’t have been able to do the coin.”

Koss with her painting of the black-eyed Susan for the coin. (Photo Credit: Contributed)

Koss worked very closely with the Royal Canadian Mint’s flower specialist on the coin, saying that the specialist was extremely precise about making sure the shape of the leaves and other tiny details were scientifically correct—down to the fibres on the stem. “It was so interesting to work that closely with the specialist."

The collector's coin is the sixth in its series celebrating Canada’s beloved flowers. Depicting a black-eyed Susan, this dew drop coin has three sparkling Swarovski crystals on the flower’s petals. The fine silver coin is made from 99.99 per cent pure silver, and the previous coins in the series have all sold out.

The fine silver coin designed by Koss. (Photo Credit: Royal Canadian Mint)

She also found that the design process was different for the coin. For the stamps, she sent in her paintings and Canada Post did the design. For the coin, however, Koss placed her painting where she wanted it in the circle and designed where the other elements such as the word “Canada” and the year would go. “They did it almost exactly,” said Koss, with the only change being moving her initials into a more prominent place.

Creating both a Canada Post stamp and a collector's coin is a huge mark of success for this Kelowna artist. “It’s very surreal,” said Koss. “It’s obviously an incredible honour.” She mentioned the pride of her daughter, who wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday recalling when she was nine and read a story about a girl whose father designed a coin in the United States. Koss’s daughter remembers thinking how cool it was and how she wished one of her parents could do that for Canada. “Fast forward about 15 years and now my dream has come true.”

You’ll be able to check out the coins (and Koss’s stamps) at any local post office across Canada, and you can see more of this local artist’s work on her website.

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